We are a multigenerational church. We are not and do not desire to be a mega-church that is primarily mono-generational, mono-cultural, and focused on the ascent of the first half of life. Our desire is to bring all the generations together as a family of faith and to honor the forces, events, and spiritual formation processes that shape each generation.
Faith and journey
Faith is a journey toward God. This journey is full of twists, turns, mountaintop experiences, and descents into darkness. Faith grows and develops over time. As Richard Rohr insightfully and honestly once said, “Every seven years you outgrow your old ideas about God.” The Spirit always teaches and renews us over time. The eight stages of faith development, as outlined by Dr. Bill Plotkin in “Nature and the Human Soul,” are important to us.
“Awaken” is a non-church word for “called”. God has called us to a grand adventure of faith through Christ; however, this sense of call sometimes loses its meaning in church language. Jesus himself said surprisingly little about calling but spoke at length about “seeing” correctly and awakening to the kingdom of God. (See Jesus’ answer to why he spoke in parables; the disciples asleep in the Garden of Gethsemane; the example of Jesus asleep in the boat during the storm, and the metaphor of awakening the sleeping Christ within.)
The context of ministry has evolved significantly, and traditional church models and programs are increasingly less effective and in some cases, irrelevant. Our culture is changing dramatically, and one of the great changes is discretionary time. Active lifestyles, two-income families, and commuting leave less time for “church” which can be just another activity in a long list of things to do. Serving on a traditional committee many times can be more draining than life-giving. “Enliven” is a fantastic way to look at the ministry of the church as ways that bring people alive rather than drain them of energy.
For example, the old model for ministry is to plan an event, try and find leadership for the event, and ask people to attend. This is the “attractional” model we all grew up with in church, and it is an increasingly ineffective model for ministry in reaching new generations. What if we were to go to people and ask, “What can Grace Church do to help you follow Christ in your life? Where do you struggle? Where do you need help?” Listening to people where they are would enliven and revitalize our congregation.
An encounter with Christ is an encounter with joy. “I have said these things to you so that my joy may be in you, and that your joy may be complete.” (John 15:11) Too much of popular western protestant Christianity is preoccupied with things that end up stealing our joy rather than increasing it. We focus on outward behavior, on power over others, and worry (which for Jesus is the opposite of faith). At Grace Church, we want to allow the freedom of the Holy Spirit to come and increase our joy, knowing well that as our faith matures, the soul grows by subtraction and not addition.
The Living Christ in the World
We believe the resurrection means Christ is alive and goes before us in the world. As we go out into the world, we go to meet the Christ who is already there, and we begin to recognize His presence (see the Great Commission in Matthew 28:20 and the road to Emmaus in Luke 24:13ff).